Each persons kaleidoscope – what are others seeing based on their own journeys?  How to understand others kaleidoscopes.

We each see the world through a lens, a filter based on our fears, family environment, assumptions, conditioning and beliefs.  No two people see the world the same because of this.  It brings forth their strengths, their ability to contribute great things and have a positive impact. This is one of the beautiful things about people and their uniqueness but it also presents some challenges.

Everyone has their own kaleidoscope.  Their own mix of colours, perspectives and views that means we get a different view coming from each person. We know our own kaleidoscope but what would we pay to get a view of other people’s?

We can’t assume everyone is the same.  The same brush should not paint every wall the same.   How do we even try to begin to see things through someone else’s eyes?

We need to seek first to understand individuals before being understood as a leader.  We need to understand their unique motivations, beliefs, strengths and challenges.   Doing this is not only a far more enjoyable journey, but you will improve your leadership effectiveness and ability to work with others.

Bridging this gap happens through being able to ask good questions combined with good data.  The types of questions and techniques that can accelerate your understanding of others include:

  • What is their background?  The types of jobs they have had?  The work environments they have exposed to?
  • Where do they see their key strengths?    What do they enjoy doing?
  • Their personal interests.  What do they do outside of work in terms of family and other interests?  Where do their passions lie?
  • The type of communication and leadership style they work best with and what challenges they have had in the past with their previous managers?
  • Using tools like Myer Briggs, DISC, Facet 5 and other psychometric tools to gain a greater understanding of not only the particular individual but the entire team also prompts great discussions around what makes each person tick.   This is also extremely valuable in getting this knowledge shared with others that work closely with individuals.

The areas above not only enable you as a leader to understand others but it also forces you to listen more than you speak through great questioning.  Something all of us have challenges with but one of the most important attributes of a great leader.   As someone once said to me, we are born with two ears and one mouth for a reason.  Use this natural bias to your advantage to understand others and unlock the knowledge that is contained within their kaleidoscope.